Everglades National Park Wilderness Waterways Offer Incredible Experiences with Recreation.gov and my724outdoors.com!

Everglades National Park Wilderness Waterways Offer Incredible Experiences with Recreation.gov and my724outdoors.com!

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Incredible Experiences in a subtropical wilderness that protects unique Florida wildlife and habitat

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness in Everglades National Park is comprised of 1,296,500 acres and is the largest designated wilderness east of the Rocky Mountains. Congress authorized the wilderness in 1978 and named it after its most famous champion in 1997.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness is very different from other places you may have boated, paddled, or camped. It can be confusing and difficult to navigate the mazes of mangrove-lined creeks and bays. As you consider a trip to the coastal portions of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness, take time to carefully plan and prepare for your backcountry experience.

Signature Features

A tent set-up on a wooden platform chickee site above the water.
Everglades National Park (Jane Gamble, NPS)

The possibilities to discover Everglades are endless when in the Marjory Stoneman Douglass Wilderness. Discover the solitude of a paddle as you glide through the waterways, view Everglades’ rare and endangered wildlife like the manatee and American crocodile, and settle-in overnight at a primitive “chickee” campsite (comprised of an elevated wooden platform with roof).

As you plan for your visit, it’s important to note a wilderness camping permit is required year-round and most wilderness campsites are only accessible by water. Most visitors plan to visit in the winter, also known as the dry season when a variety of wading birds are present – as well as their predators.  Dry season lasts from November to April, while the wet season is typically from May to October (think hot, muggy, and mosquitoes!).  

Incredible Experiences

Kayaker in a wide waterway lined with trees and clouds reflected in the water.
Everglades National Park (Jane Gamble, NPS)

Beginning November 17, 2020, at 10 a.m. ET, Everglades National Park will offer online reservations for wilderness camping permits on Recreation.gov. This permit allows the permit holder and their group to overnight camp at designated campsites within the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Wilderness. Reservations are available year-round, 90-days before your arrival date on a rolling basis.

Reservations holders will be required to pick-up the wilderness permit in person at either the Gulf Coast or Flamingo Visitor Center on the day before or the day of your reserved trip. 

Fun Facts

  • Everglades National Park has the largest wilderness area east of the Rocky Mountains.
  • The park boasts 1.5 million acres of wetlands including the mangrove swamps.
  • The 99-mile Wilderness Waterway connects Flamingo and Everglades City and takes most paddlers around 8 days to complete.
  • Motorboats are allowed in most marine areas of the wilderness.
  • The Florida manatee, found throughout the mangrove estuary of Everglades National Park, can hold its breath for up to 20 minutes while underwater.
A visitor kayaks  through a mangrove tunnel.
Everglades National Park (David Kochendorfer, Share the Experience)

A Message from the Agency

Practice Leave No Trace principles to get the most out of your wilderness experience and help to preserve the park’s unique values for other visitors, both today and in the future.

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Plan to bring all your needed supplies and leave with all belongings including waste. Be aware that many sites do not have restrooms and those that do are not always serviced regularly. Feeding wildlife anywhere in the park is prohibited. If wildlife associate humans with food, they may exhibit more assertive behaviors.

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